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We all know that HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects people of color. But did you know that African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States?

Despite representing only 14 percent of the U.S. population in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in that year, according to Centers for Disease Control.

But there’s more.

  • In 2009, black men accounted for 70 percent  of the estimated new HIV infections among all blacks. The estimated rate of new HIV infection for black men was more than six and a half times as high as that of white men, and two and a half times as high as that of Latino men or black women.
  • In 2009, black men who have sex with men (MSM) represented an estimated 73% of new infections among all black men, and 37% among all MSM. More new HIV infections occurred among young black MSM (aged 13–29) than any other age and racial group of MSM. In addition, new HIV infections among young black MSM increased by 48% from 2006–2009.
  • In 2009, black women accounted for 30% of the estimated new HIV infections among all blacks. Nearly (85%) black women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women.

It’s time to take a stand against this disease. As we recognize World AIDS Day, remember that you have the power to protect yourself. You have a say in what happens to your body.

Remember to be safe and smart with your decisions. Don’t be afraid to get tested or to insist that your partner gets tested; knowing your HIV status and that of your partner or partners will help you make more informed decisions. HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic, but each us can do our part to stop it.

Live HOPE. Give HOPE.